SA’s Garrick Higgo aces Canary Island exam to record third European Tour win
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By Mike Green
CAPE TOWN - Garrick Higgo aced the seventh hole on Sunday on his way to his second European Tour title in three weeks as he romped to a six-stroke victory in the Canary Islands Championship on the European Tour.
He holed his tee shot on the 158-metre par-three seventh to simply underline his superiority on the day, as he shrugged off two bogeys on his way to a seven-under-par 64 to finish well clear of Australian Maverick Antcliffe, whose 21-under-par was adrift of the top of the leaderboard by some distance.
“It’s amazing, and I’m happy to be done now,” said Higgo after he received a thorough drenching at the hands of his fellow South Africans once the final putt had dropped. “I’m very tired, but just really happy and thankful.
“It’s awesome having support of the South Africans out here. They’ve all taken me under their wing and I learn a lot from them.”
He became the youngest South African to three titles on the European Tour in just his 26th tournament on that circuit.
The win will take him within touching distance of the top 50 in the world’s top 50 on the official rankings, and he will join a growing band of South Africans in the year’s second major championship, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina on May 20.
Higgo started the day two shots clear at 20-under, and quickly made his intentions clear with a birdie on the first. While he bogeyed the second, he regained that shot with a birdie on three, and then he was on his way, putting daylight between himself and any challengers. There were five more birdies, the ace, and a second bogey, but, in truth, the rest of the field was fighting for second.
Despite that, he said he felt some pressure. “I did feel pressure, from the start,” he said. “it’s not easy to lead. When I won two weeks ago, it was my first time. In this game, anything can happen.”
Behind him Dean Burmester, who won last week carded a closing 65 to finish in a share of fourth. Louis de Jager signed for a four-under 67 to finish 17-under for the week in 12th, while Zander Lombard’s 68 saw him to 20th on 16-under. Justin Harding ground his way to one-under 70 and a share of 38th, with Justin Walters finishing on nine-under for a share of 51st.
For Higgo, it’s probably time to sit down and catch his breath as he rockets to fifth on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings, ahead of greats of the game like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
He has shown he belongs there, even two days shy as he is of his 22nd birthday.